A white 14-year-old teen is accused of trying to drown a Black teenage boy in a pond on Cape Cod while using racial insults against him.
According to NBC News, John Sheeran was released to his father’s custody on Monday, September 11, after being charged with attempted murder and assault with a dangerous weapon. The grand jury accusations stem from an event on July 19 near Goose Pond in Chatham, Massachusetts, in which a Black teen says he was the victim of a racially motivated attack.
Sheeran is accused of repeatedly submerging a Black teen in the water while another white teen laughed and referred to him as “George Floyd.” According to the alleged victim, he told Sheeran and a friend that he could not swim but Sheeran repeatedly tried to pull him underwater several times.
The Black teen further alleges that during a stone-throwing incident, he was called racial slurs like “boy” and the n word. Authorities report that other teenagers in the pond claim to have spotted Sheeran on top of the Black child in the water and that they did hear someone shout “George Floyd.”
Sheeran was charged by a Barnstable County grand jury last month and ordered jailed without bail. The Department of Youth Services detained him until his release on Monday.
A judge has ordered Sheeran to be GPS monitored, remain with his father, report to probation regularly, and keep away from potential witnesses as part of his release pending trial.
Sheeran’s lawyer says that charges are “over the top” for the mere “horseplaying” between the youth that “got out of control,” according to The Boston Globe.
Everyone involved in the case is a teen whose identity has been withheld. Sheeran is an exception because he is being tried as a juvenile offender. This means that prosecutors can pursue an adult sentence for adolescents aged 14 to 17 charged with a felony or meet other conditions, such as a case involving the infliction or threat of serious bodily injury.